This week Blizzard released a wave of nerfs to decks like Odd Paladin and Kingsbane Rogue. The nerfs also struck the Druid class as a whole through the changing of Nourish and Wild Growth.
While it’s too early to make exact predictions on how this will affect the meta, we can use the deck tracking tools at HS Replay to get an idea of how players are reacting. HS Replay uses the most downloaded deck tracking software in the game to keep tabs on what decks players are having success with.
As far as win rate is concerned, Hunter, Warrior, and Paladin have the top three spots in that order. Paladin previously had the top class win rate, and their drop is no doubt due in part to the Odd Paladin nerf. That being said, Paladin is still one of three classes to have an overall positive win rate, so don’t expect to see Paladins vanish from competitive play completely. It will no doubt take some time for players to figure out exactly how to replace Level Up in the deck, but for now, Paladins are still holding down a spot in the meta.
It would appear based on win rate alone that Druids were hurt most by the card changes. Out of all nine classes in the game, Druid currently has the lowest win rate at 43 percent. Druid’s popularity (the amount of people using the class) has also fallen to last place. The changes to Nourish and Wild Growth have played a part in this for certain, but one must also consider the fact that it will take time to figure out how to play the class in its new form.
Hunter remains the top deck in terms of win rate and popularity, which has many players on the official Hearthstone subreddit questioning why the class has yet to be touched. Secret and Spell Hunter have been dominating the game since Rastakhan’s Rumble launched Dec. 4th, and the changes to Paladin, Rogue, and Druid just made this more prominent. Perhaps Blizzard is unsure of how to balance the deck without changing its newly released hero card Zul’Jin.
Zul’jin is responsible for the explosion in Hunter play, and for good reason. He allows the Hunter to cast every spell they’ve already cast that game again in a single turn. This means every secret card that was placed on the field is replaced and every spell they used to deal damage or summon minions is re-cast.
There are absolutely ways to beat Spell/Secret Hunter as other classes and randomness plays a role, just like with any card game. However, with a win rate of 52% and a popularity score of 31 percent (the next in line is Warlock with 13 percent) it’s obvious that Hunters are currently out of control.
One class that seems to be holding up in terms of win rate and popularity despite the nerfs is Rogue. The class is currently the third most popular and has the fifth highest win rate. Kingsbane is still the class’s most prominent deck archetype, so don’t be too worried if you spent a bunch of dust on the deck and assumed it to be useless post-nerf.
While the stats discussed here were taken only one day after the card changes, it gives you an idea of how players react in a knee-jerk fashion when Blizzard makes changes to the game. Druid was one of the most popular decks on ladder and people are now rendering it virtually unplayable. While it will certainly take time for the Druid masters to conceptualize new dominant decks for the class in its current state, don’t consider it dead just yet.
When the first expansion of 2019 releases a ton of cards will be rotating out of Standard play, including The Frozen Throne. When Frozen Throne rotates out, nearly every Hero card in the game will no longer be playable in Standard. This will change the meta so drastically, no one can even begin to assume what the game might look like at that point.
If your favorite deck got nerfed, try not to worry. Odds are, sometime early next year the meta will be flipped on its head anyway.